Prairie Post

5 things you absolutely must know today

Unprecedented bend by China’s Communist Party

China’s decades-old, one-child policy is set to be amended, according to Xinhua news.

The country’s Communist Party convened to address a groundswell of complaints from Chinese citizens, as well as attempt to soften the party’s reputation as intolerant and closed.

So, now, urban couples are able to have more than one child if one of the parents was an only child. Previously, both parents had to be an only child in order to qualify. This policy in its strict and now more relaxed iterations does not apply to most rural families.

Of the reforms, the most visible and widely known being the one-child policy, it’s the party’s cessation of the “re-education through labor” program that steals the show, at least from a human rights perspective.

These camps, according to NPR’s Frank Langfitt, “allow cops literally to just take people and put them away for 18 months in a labor camp with no charges, no lawyer, no judge.” [source: NPR and BBC]

It may be worth trying, but Google will defeat you

Surprise: Google wins.

Judge Denny Chin ruled that the 20-million or so titles Google Books has scanned for free, online viewing constitutes fair use, arguing the service “advances the progress of the arts and sciences, while maintaining respectful consideration for the rights of authors and other creative individuals, and without adversely impacting the rights of copyright holders.”

The Google program has been active since 2004, and has ongoing lawsuits from major publishers dating back to 2005. [Source: Death and Taxes]

Rob Ford (is his own headline)

Rob Ford is a “mayor in name only,” after a near unanimous Toronto city council vote Friday stripped him of some key hiring and firing powers. Ford announced he would be fighting this motion.

But more limitations to the mayor are slated for discussion at a special meeting on Monday, where council will discuss a motion that would transfer, “all powers and duties which are not by statute” to deputy mayor Norm Kelly. If passed, Ford would be ousted as chair of his out executive committee, and would be unable to sit and vote on other committee. His office budget would also be reduced.

The Ford crisis reached a new peak this week with the release of police documents containing allegations ranging from drug use to sexual inappropriateness to drinking and driving. But that wasn’t quite it. The real peak was reached Wednesday when he denied saying “I want to eat your pussy” to a former staffer, and added, “I’m happily married. I have more than enough to eat at home.”

Ford has apologized for smoking crack cocaine, public drunkenness, buying illegal drugs in the last two years, and threatening to kill someone.   [Source: National Post]

Liberal titans: Chretien to Gerrard

Longstanding pillar of Manitoba’s liberal party Jon Gerrard was honoured Thursday with a thank you for service from former prime minister Jean Chretien.

“He stayed in politics in a very difficult position,” Chretien told the hundreds of supports at Gerrard’s tribute dinner. “It’s very rare that we meet an individual like him who devoted the last 20 years to public life, and I want to say thank you for your dedication.”

Gerrard, who told reporters he has had a “phenomenal 15 years,” announced his resignation after support for the already beleaguered party dropped nearly five percentage points during the 2011 election.

Rana Bokhari was voted in as the party’s new leader in October. [Source: CBC News]

Update on Typhoon Haiyan

Typhoon Haiyan’s death toll stands at 3,631 and is likely to increase, according to news sources.

Aid is beginning to trickle in, a week after one of the strongest storms to ever to hit land displaced almost two million people and left over 12,000 injured. And there are still nearly 2,000 people missing.

Agencies are blaming the slow pace of relief on the stunting logistics of delivering food and supplies with a limited amount of trucks.

“In a situation like this, nothing is fast enough,” Interior Secretary Mar Roxas told BBC. “The need is massive, the need is immediate, and you can’t reach everyone.” [Source: BBC]

(dis)Honourable mention: It has verisimilitude, but Spectator Tribune would like to go on record as skeptical of Jean Claude Van Damme’s performance in the latest Volvo commercial.


Toban Dyck watched Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult while writing today’s 5 things. It’s not a recommended muse.

For more follow @tobandyck and @spectatortrib